Publications

Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Despite the widely reported phenomenal growth in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the Asia-Pacific region, a new study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), has found that broadband capabilities and access are highly concentrated in East and North-East Asia.

The report titled, "State of ICT in Asia and the Pacific 2016: Uncovering the Widening Broadband Divide", also confirms that the gap between advanced and developing countries in fixed broadband access is indeed widening, and unless targeted policy interventions are put in place, the trend will continue to the detriment of future development opportunities.

The Report shows that 74.89 per cent of total fixed broadband subscriptions in Asia and the Pacific are concentrated in East and North-East Asia, followed by South and South-West Asia (9.77 per cent), North and Central Asia (7.68 per cent), South-East Asia (5.74 per cent) and the Pacific (1.93 per cent), according to the 2015 data.

Findings indicate that over 52.3 per cent of global fixed broadband subscribers now come from ESCAP member States, a dramatic increase from 2005 when the region constituted only 38.1 per cent. The Report also found that in 2015, less than 2 per cent of the population had adopted fixed broadband in as many as 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific, widening the digital divide between high-income and low-income countries at an alarming speed.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar underlined that broadband connectivity is a critical foundation for the digital economy and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia-Pacific, and that ESCAP is working with member States to improve broadband access for countries in the region.

“As a result of this digital divide, millions of people are shut out from transformative digital opportunities in education, health, business and financial services,” said Dr. Akhtar. “In response to the widening gap, ESCAP is promoting the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative, to increase the availability and affordability of broadband Internet across Asia and the Pacific, by strengthening the underlying Internet infrastructure in the region,” she added.

In particular, the Report shows that e-commerce strongly correlates with access to fixed broadband connectivity, suggesting that enhancing ICT infrastructure connectivity would increase business-to-business e-commerce in the region. The Report also examined emerging trends in developing online content, differential patterns of mobile broadband expansion and usage, as well as the impact of regulatory quality and investment in broadband adoption.

The study findings will serve as the basis for the inaugural ESCAP Committee on ICT, Science, Technology and Innovation to be held from 5 to 7 October 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Published Date: 
Monday, August 8, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Firms face difference obstacles for their development. This paper investigates which obstacle is the largest to firms’ productivity using micro-level data for the Asia and Pacific region. Access to finance shows the most robust result in our investigation, being stronger for SMEs. Removing SMEs’ credit constraints seem to be a powerful tool to promote economic growth in the region, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

Published Date: 
Monday, August 8, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

During the last three and half decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth, with the average annual GDP growth rate being 9.3% for 1978 to 2014. At that rate, real GDP doubles every seven years. China’s real per capita GDP has risen from only 5.5% of the U.S. level in 1978 to about 25% in 2014. In 2014 the per capita GDP has reached about $7584 US dollars (current price, World Development Indicators), or $12608 international dollar (2011-year PPP constant price, World Development Indicators), which is about 31% of the level of high income OECD countries. As a result, China has transformed from one of the poorest agricultural countries in the late 1970s to the second largest economy in the world, accounting for 16.6 percent of global GDP in 2014. China and other emerging markets now represent the majority of the growth of global demand, and have become one of the major engines for the global economic growth.

China's economic growth has shown a declining trend since the breakout of the global financial crisis in 2008, especially after 2011, and is still under the downward pressure, which is likely to continue in the next couple of years, according to the IMF’s and other forecasts. GDP growth decreased to 7.3% in 2014, and 6.9% in the first three quarters of 2015, which were lower than the average in the last three decades, and the lowest since 2000. The Chinese government claims that the Chinese economy has entered a state of “new normal”, meaning that the gear of growth is shifted down from high to medium-to-high speed.

Published Date: 
Monday, August 8, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Most of the developing countries are confronted with scarcity of natural and financial resources and, therefore, rapid economic growth using up the resource endowment of the economy comes at the expense of the future growth and poses a number of challenges for the economy. Productivity growth (or output growth which is net of input growth) is the key to the long run sustainability of growth as well as development because with rapid productivity growth proportionately less resources will be required to raise the growth by one unit and the scarce resources can be released from the growth process to be utilised for the overall development of the economy. So the interest in the component of growth which is non-input based has grown enormously over the years. Issues related to its estimation are innumerable. However, a detailed review of those issues is outside the scope of this study. On the other hand, this paper aims at (a) examining the patterns of productivity growth across broad sectors of the Indian economy, (b) identifying the determinants of productivity growth and policy variables for experiencing an enhanced productivity growth; and (c) reviewing the ongoing policy initiatives of the government. However, the study does not carry out any independent research; instead it reviews the plethora of existing studies to encompass the issues mentioned above.

Published Date: 
Monday, August 8, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

This paper is motivated by the need to identify potential links between productivity in the rural and agriculture sector in The A-P with a view to proposing policies and strategies on how strengthening productivity in the rural and agriculture sector will contribute to the realization of SDGs. In order to identify broad regional trends, the paper analyses the circumstances of 23 countries of the ESCAP region , but policy discussions are limited to a selected few from among the 23 countries.

Published Date: 
Friday, July 22, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

As governments transition towards e-government in Asia and the Pacific, there is growing acknowledgement of the role that e-government could play to harness ICTs for women’s empowerment and gender equality. However, much of e-government policy and implementation still do not take into account the differentiated access to, and impact of, technology for men and women. Recognizing this critical gap, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) undertook a project in 2014–2015 on “E-Government for Women’s Empowerment in the Asia Pacific”, in partnership with the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG). As part of the project, this analytical study aims to enhance knowledge and awareness of good practices of gender-responsive policies, programmes and strategies in e-government, in order to help build the capacity of governments to harness this tool towards women’s empowerment.

Published Date: 
Friday, July 15, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

The Environment and Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change of Vietnam (IMHEN) jointly designed a study to establish a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) programme for “Waste-to-Resources for Cities in Vietnam” that can support the nation-wide adoption of waste-to-resource approaches, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the urban solid waste management, and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This study draws upon ESCAP’s experiences in implementing Integrated Resource Recovery Centers (IRRC) in Viet Nam, and describes the methodology of upscaling the IRRC model into a NAMA that is integrated with Viet Nam’s National Strategy for Integrated Management of Solid Waste up to 2025 and Vision towards 2050, as well as realizes inter-sectoral sustainable development benefits.

The study analyses of the scope and objectives of the NAMA accounting for the urban solid waste management challenges, the systemic barriers, and the baseline scenario of related greenhouse gas emissions in cities in Viet Nam. In addition, it proposes the costs and financial modalities, institutional arrangements and capacity building activities, and the road map for the structured implementation of the NAMA.

Published Date: 
Friday, July 8, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Digitalisation has enabled the emergence of low value consignments trade and has established a platform for SMEs in developing countries to participate in global trade. However, with companies involved in low value consignments trade being more sensitive to trade costs, and e-commerce particularly hinging on efficient delivery, transportation and payment systems, trade costs entailing high fixed cost components and lacking infrastructure can easily make trade uneconomic. In order for SMEs in developing countries to be able to reap the benefits of cross-border digital trade in low value goods, identified barriers must be reduced. This note identifies some critical actions including: raising de-minimis thresholds; lowering customs document requirements; establishing low-cost and efficient transportation, delivery services, telecommunications and broadband networks; and establishing a legal framework that gives players the confidence to conduct online transactions. The nature of cross-border digital trade requires that such policies be interoperable. Asia-Pacific countries should therefore strive to not only concentrate on improving domestic policies and procedures, but to additionally coordinate and work together with their neighbours to build the required infrastructure and to allow for mutual recognition or even harmonization of the systems, procedures, enforcement mechanisms and laws that affect digital trade.

Published Date: 
Friday, July 1, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Older persons, particularly the oldest-old, are the fastest growing population segment in India and many of them require or will require long-term care in the future. The paper discusses policies on population ageing in India, such as the National Policy on Older Persons and the National Programme for Health Care for the Elderly. It further discusses the health status of older persons in India and projects future care needs. Finally, it discusses the prevailing provision of long-term care for older persons through the family as well as institutional care provided by the State, the private sector and civil society. The paper closes with policy recommendations.

Published Date: 
Thursday, June 23, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Population ageing is becoming an increasing challenge in Fiji. The demographic transformation has been accompanied by widespread socioeconomic changes, which have principally affected social support systems. With decreasing family size and changing economic demands, support systems for the most vulnerable have come under severe stress. A combination of factors, including low economic growth, a large informal sector, high unemployment, mandatory early retirement, pose a challenge to income security for older persons in Fiji. In response, the Government has sought to develop and implement policies and programmes providing a certain level of social protection. This paper focuses first on Fiji’s demographic and socioeconomic changes with an emphasis on population ageing and challenges to income security. It then examines the current status of state-led social security systems, before turning to a review on the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF). Lastly, it discusses critical sustainability issues with regards to the FNPF pension and highlights a number of achievable policy recommendations.

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